BUSINESS

M&M Gas ends DEPA monopoly in imports

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Energy

M&M Gas, a joint venture between the Mytilineos and Motor Oil groups, is changing the landscape of the local natural gas market through its importing of the commodity from Bulgaria via the pipeline that ends up at the Sidirokastro terminal in central Macedonia.

These are the first ever quantities of natural gas a private company has brought to the Greek market via a pipeline that had been used exclusively by Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) since the start of its operation.

The transmission of the gas, from a major European firm, started on June 1 and was made possible thanks to long and arduous efforts by M&M Gas and its determination to open up the gas supply market in Greece via a pipeline, as it also did in 2010 in the case of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

While the quantities of imported gas involved may be small right now, they create prospects for future competition in the supply of natural gas, and the associated benefits for consumers, as well as strengthening the country’s diversification in terms of origin of energy sources.

Although gas imports via the Bulgarian-Greek pipeline were not forbidden to third companies, no one could use this interconnection until May as the two countries’ transmission operators, DESFA and Bulgartransgaz, had not signed the necessary interconnection agreement, in violation of the European legislation. However, M&M Gas signed a deal with a major European company in May and on June 1 it started importing the first quantities.

M&M Gas was DEPA’s first rival in the supply of LNG and is also following an aggressive policy in the retail market of natural gas, making the most of the new framework for the liberalization of supply to major industrial consumers. It has already obtained an 80 percent share of that market, currently supplying 35 industrial companies across the country with gas it acquires from the DEPA auctions, and with LNG it imports by itself.

Competition in the domestic retail market will grow after 2018, when domestic consumers will also be able to choose their supplier, enjoying benefits similar to those that electricity consumers now have, which have led Public Power Corporation to slash rates by 15 percent.

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